RAMPTON, ON – Automaker FCA Canada Inc., part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, pleaded guilty and was fined $140,000 after a worker received head injuries when bolts failed on a transfer press undergoing maintenance.
The incident took place on July 26, 2015, at the company’s assembly plant in Brampton. A worker was performing annual preventative maintenance work on a transfer press known as the D-Line Press, a machine used to manufacture automobile door and fender panels. Maintenance was being performed on the machine’s clutch.
The worker and two colleagues were removing bolts connecting a clutch plate to other components of the clutch assembly when two bolts from the clutch spring assembly fractured and were ejected at high velocity. One worker was struck in the head by a clutch spring assembly, lost consciousness and suffered injuries.
The Ministry of Labour’s investigation found that each time the press completed a cycle, a force was applied to the clutch spring assemblies that could separate the bolt connections. Because the force was applied repeatedly, the bolts progressively deteriorated and eventually fractured. The company and workers were aware of periodic breakage of spring bolts and modifications were made but bolt failure continued to occur.
The company pleaded guilty for failing to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect a worker from the ejection of parts from the transfer press when performing maintenance work – a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act – and was fined $140,000 by Justice of the Peace Samantha Burton on September 27, 2017.
The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.